Anomaly by Krista McGee (Anomaly #1)
Thomas Nelson, 2013
*ARC received at ALA Annual Conference - Thank You!*
The premise for Krista McGee's dystopian/science-fiction novel Anomaly, the first in a planned series, blew me away. However, I quickly learned that this book was almost, but not quite, what the description said it was.
Thalli is growing up in a world post-nuclear war, underground, in a society run by scientists and where emotions have been eradicated. Therefore, her very existence is dangerous because she feels deeply and always has. When her secret is discovered, a childhood friend saves her from annihilation and instead she is studied in labs. But are the scientists really the most powerful ones calling the shots, or could Thalli's anomaly actually be part of a much larger plan?
The story was going along really well with an interesting premise and a cast of characters that were each distinct when the novel took a very sharp turn. Insert the surprise: this isn't just a dystopian and science-fiction story, but Christian fiction. Suddenly there's a religious element that changes everything - the tone, the characters, the story as a whole. I found it very hard to enjoy the book, which I otherwise actually really liked, after this for a few reasons.
First of all, I have no problem with Christian fiction or faith-based fiction in general. It's actually very cool to see a world and characters in which faith plays a big part. I was not a fan, however, of how it was handled here. It wasn't just an element of the story - I felt like I was being preached at. This leads to my second criticism which is the fact that this was Christian fiction was essentially hidden. Nowhere on my ARC when describing genre/content was this mentioned. Had the publisher been forthcoming about this element, I would have gone into this with the proper mindset and known what was coming. Another option could have been for the religious aspect to be handled as an allegory instead which I believe would have been stronger in the context of this incredibly vivid and well-planned world McGee created.
If you are seeking a story that combines Christianity with popular dystopian and science-fiction tropes, then McGee's Anomaly is absolutely for you. I liked the blurb on the back, but unfortunately the way the religious parts of the text were inserted and handled resulted in this novel not being my particular cup of tea.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
Krista McGee's Website